@RolandTaylor You had asked whether my Catholic upbringing and/or the violence I experienced living in Texas had given me an aversion to Jesus, and I had begun to explain that I don't have an aversion to Jesus, that because my tradition makes no proscription as to worship my incompatibilities with Christianity were largely social/intellectual... then life interrupted.
My tradition's rules dictate nothing about god/gods at all -- I could worship Jesus if I wanted without breaking any rules... my personal belief is that every religion swears they are the One Right Way, and that despite being mortals they are the only people who know the nature and intentions of God/gods: I don't buy it. There is nothing to show me who's right, and I'm not keen on playing Russian Roulette with my soul.
So, I'll happily spend my time doing and being good (in the best fashion that can be logically determined), and one of three things will happen:
1) There is no God/afterlife, so at least I spent my time well.
2) There is a kind/just God who will care more for what I've done than for the self-absorbed sycophants who are just going through the motions (the majority in any church/temple/etc).
3) God is really only concerned with having people pad his ego through worship, and my life is at least a decent punch in the nose to someone who has atrocious priorities. I'll burn, maybe, but picking from even major religions gives me less than a 10% shot at not burning anyway.
@RolandTaylor If God were that worried about me following his path he'd give me some indication as to which he wanted me to choose. There are hundreds (even if you only count big-ish ones) of One Right Ways out there, all of them equally arbitrary from the perspective of someone who is willing to admit she does not know the heart and mind of God.
@waxeagle exactly -- Pascal's wager only works for a binary choice: believe/worship or do not. It doesn't work with 100 choices.
There has always been one way to God. In fact it pays to do some deep research on various world cultures and beliefs, they all point back to one unified origin. The problem is, as usual, sinful man wants his own way, so he creates "religions"; a way to get to God without God, so to speak.
@RolandTaylor I never said I don't want God -- I said I won't assume that what some institution tells me is the will of God is. If God has something he wants me to know, he's quite capable of pointing it out. Else I'll use the brain i was born with and find my own way.
@RolandTaylor Isn't it more than a little arrogant to claim to know the nature and will of God in the first place? (I'm not sure of a less argumentative way to say this, but it is an earnest question.)
@HedgeMage yes it certainly is. What we can say is that we believe the Bible is divinely inspired and as such we can believe that it presents the truth. The interpretation of that truth is at best flawed. Thankfully my tradition suggest that only a work of the spirit can convince someone. We are here to be instruments, but we don't cause it.
My tradition has a concept called "natural law". This is not in the neopagan sense that Nature is a Goddess who makes laws about stuff. In our tradition, the idea is basically that the world is what it is, and you can try to pretend otherwise, but if you go about life that way, what is is going to smack you down in a very unpleasant way, not because someone wants it to, but because it's how the world works.
For example, I could choose to believe in the Christian God, or in the Wiccan Goddess and Lord, or in the Roman pantheon, or any number of other things. I might be right or wrong, but my belief does not change what is.
Yes, but not in the "God is sorry but you fail he's sending you to Hell" way... more like, if you fail to understand the world around you, or worse -- believe what you want to believe regardless of whether it is true -- you'll get into trouble because you will be playing by the wrong set of rules.
@HedgeMage salvation is by grace, through faith in Jesus.
it's that simple
of course, we could collegiate that...
"Salvation is by redemptive propitiation of our sin by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, of Nazareth, born of a virgin through the Holy Spirit... crowd falls asleep... yada, yada, yada, bla, bla, bla..."
not that such a long explanation does not have it's place mind you ;)...
@HedgeMage I hesitate to call them true believers. If the aren't they burn like everyone else. If they are then I'm not sure what to say on that subject. For instance, some traditions believe Judas will be in heaven (I've heard a sermon on it actually).
@RolandTaylor Right. My point is simply, that it's hard to use something so open to interpretation as the Bible as a definitive "God says so", especially when it comes to things that a thorough application of logic can show to be morally questionable if not completely immoral.
@RolandTaylor Not to mention that while my Latin is pretty good, my Greek sucks, and I never learned any other languages I'd need to trace back to the original writings (assuming what $random-person says is the original text is -- I wasn't around 2k years ago).
Why are you so focused on what people have done in the name of God, that was obviously not godly? Why not focus on what they say is the word of God? If they are supposed to be following it, then you should investigate the word of God itself. Maybe if their behaviour is flawed, then the standard they have is flawed... or... they are flawed for not sticking to that standard.
@RolandTaylor That is a very fair (even astute) point... but how does one know the Bible is any more God's word than the Vedas, or the Torah, or the Qoran? They all claim to be God's word -- by what do you suggest we judge them if not hard evidence (there is none) or the behaviors of those who follow them?
@RolandTaylor Lol. I assure you I am a committed Christian. I also think the faith in Jesus Christ is the only means to Salvation. However, I'm not above admitting that I take things on faith sometimes that I cannot explain.
By the way -- just going from an old Latin version to the King James produced a ridiculous amount of mistranslation, or slightly altered meanings, and so on. I hate to imagine how much modern versions diverge from what was originally written.
@HedgeMage NIV did a pretty good job. From what I have read from the ESV (not cover to cover yet) it does an even better job and correct some issues the NIV had. Its also the most readable Bible I've seen yet
@HedgeMage not to offend, but you really need to approach God and His word with an open heart, not as if "I don't believe this anyway". That's prideful and it will not get you to God, cause He literally resists the proud.
@RolandTaylor While I understand what you are saying, and I have certainly had experiences that in your lexicon would probably be tagged experiences of the Divine, i still can't claim to know the nature and will of God, which I think one rather has to claim in order to belong to any of the One Right Way paths -- doesn't one?
@waxeagle If you think so, then what about if that preacher succeeded in killing him just before birth -- according to every Christian doctrine but a few, he'd have been damned, never having made a choice or taken an action of his own yet.
@waxeagle If sin can be passed in that way, then what is it? I was under the impression that sin was the act of breaking one's relationship with god through some bad action.
@RolandTaylor So, we're back to, I can pick one, which feels a whole lot like Russian Roulette with my soul, or I can accept that I don't know if God exists, or what God's will is, and get on with life -- do what I can understand right, and accept my lack of control over what i don't understand.
@RolandTaylor But most Christian sects don't recognize an age of accountability. Among the Catholics and Lutherans, for example, you get baptized or damned, there are no exceptions. During difficult births they often put off life-saving procedures to get a priest present for baptism before the birth is complete.
@RolandTaylor It's part of Catholic dogma: if you hear God's voice directly, your mortal body and brain can't handle it and you disintigrate. That's the explanation of why he always sends angels to talk to people instead of doing it directly. The one known as most often acting as God's mouthpiece is named Metatron.
@RolandTaylor I'm pretty sure he doesn't, either, but my point is simply that the Bible is a bit like the game Chinese Telephone. Even if you believe it was inspired by God, it's been through a lot of mortal hands since then, all with their own failings, their own agendas, and so on.
Regardless of the religion espoused (Christianity, Islam, Satanism, various pagan trads, and so on), organized religion doesn't work. Some idiot gets power-hungry and all of a sudden it's not about spirit/god/etc and all about money, politics, and control.
Then I realized it wasn't really adding up. Not because I was raised in church (my former church actually believed in gap theory and a few other things that left the door open for evolution). I gave up evolution when I evaluated it for myself, and when it wouldn't stand up to the test of working in real life situations.
I find it interesting that Christians are so big on forced conversion, when every account of Christ's life suggests he was against it, and in favor of a separation between government and spiritual matters.
I was raised Catholic, but I was pretty much done in any meaningful sense when I was about 8 -- I called the priest an anti-intellectualist hypocrite and walked out. He told my grandmother on me, which is pretty much what happens when you are 8.
@HedgeMage One way you can evaluate them is via historical accuracy. For example, Luke mentioned a ton of names in the Gospel of Luke, and all of them have been confirmed by archaeology. In contrast, the Book of Mormon has like 0% accuracy. The Torah is just the first 5 books of the Bible and I don't know about the Qoran or the Vedas.
@waxeagle Have you checked out the NLT? I'd say that's the most readable translation yet although it is less precise than the ESV.
@HedgeMage I myself believe that while Sin is inherited through the father (Jesus was born of a women and yet was sinless), an infant can't sin, so to speak. In other words, until a baby/child reaches that "age of accountability" they can't be found guilty for something they didn't know was wrong (Romans 5:13 is my main verse for this).
@HedgeMage: I once read a quote that went along the lines of "Man could not have written the Bible even if he would and he would not have written the Bible even if he could." The first part comes from the fact that even with all the apparent inconsistencies, the Bible is still *very* internally consistent. The second part comes from stuff like David and Bathsheba. David's (first) actions there aren't something you'd want to record for posterity if you want to cast David in a positive light...
@RolandTaylor "Theory" means something in colloquial English that is rather different from science. Like, there's the Theory of Special Relativity, which is practically undisputed even though it cannot be proved correct.
@ElendiaStarman I feel like that is a very slippery slope. What happens if we clone a human and it is born of a virgin? Personally I believe that Christ was sinless because he was conceived of the Holy Spirit and for no other reason :)